On a rainy Tuesday morning, a handful of high school students, a few automotive technicians and a local police officer found common ground. They all set to work on the first phase of converting a military surplus Humvee into a service vehicle for the Marshalltown Police Department.
The group began three days of work spraying and lining the Humvee inside Exhaust Pros, 12 N. Third Ave. Officer Brad Mauseth, with the Marshalltown Police Department, said the project is part of a community service initiative.
Once military vehicles have reached their life expectancy, Mauseth said, the military donates them to emergency service providers. And although the city is paying for the lights and paint, the labor and vehicle didn't cost the city anything.
T-R PHOTO BY DAVID ALEXANDER
Two high school students help put lining in a Humvee Tuesday morning at Exhaust Pros. The Marshalltown Police Department is converting the Humvee into a service vehicle and enlisting local businesses and students to assist with the labor.
"I'd love to continue this," Mauseth said. "It is saving the city money."
After the spray and lining are complete, Mauseth said he will take the Humvee to S&S Auto Body & Frame, 1212 E. Main St., where a crew will paint the camouflage Humvee black. He said he didn't know exactly how long the project would take, and they will have to "play it by ear."
The MPD recruited the students who helped work on the project from Marshalltown High School. Mauseth said the police department put the word out that it was looking for students interested in learning the ins and outs of working on cars. The experience will hopefully give those students valuable knowledge about a prospective career by allowing them to learn from those in the field.
"They kind of get to see what it will be like to be an auto tech," Mauseth said.
Once the Humvee is complete, Mauseth will use it as a special use vehicle, taking it to community outreach events. Those who provide the free labor will have a sticker with their company's name pasted to the back of the Humvee. In addition to the two auto shops helping with the project, Racom is installing the lights and sirens and Sign Creations will print the stickers.
Zac Olson, owner of Exhaust Pros, said he became involved because of how interesting the project is. He has never worked on a military Humvee before.
"It's going to get some good use," he said. "Who knows, this thing could be used in a rescue."
The vehicle's simplicity makes it easy to work on, Olson said, and being able to show local youth the ropes of being an auto tech is an added bonus. He always tinkered with cars as a kid, and seeing young people be excited about it is rewarding.
Tearing something apart and putting it back together is one of the best ways to learn how something works, Olson said.
"Hopefully we can get them to put it back together," he said.
The Humvee came out of Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin.